The First Leamington Hour’s Christmas Business Fair

Article by Gary Jones 06.11.15

 
I am proud to announce a partnership with Love Handmade Fairs for our first Christmas Business Fair.
We have over 50 spaces available for you to exhibit your business. The handmade fair starts at 5pm and the networking starts at 7pm and finishing at 9pm.
You have the opportunity to meet with over 10 suppliers of the nicest handmade goods in Warwickshire. You can buy your presents there and the other half with never know (well until Christmas that is!).

  
 We have 3 great presentations starting at 7.30pm from Zak Roby, Kelly Taylor and a special guest speaker!! 

Food and drink will be available on the night and if you wanted to sponsor this or bring food along then please let me know. 

Expecting over 200 people to visit the exhibition and come to the networking event!!

If you would like to get more information or get a stall then email me at mrgajones@googlemail.com. 

The stalls are FREE but spaces are limited. (Please note we cannot supply tables or props but the spaces are large enough for them). We will have space for leaflets and pull banners. 

If you have a pull up banner then you can exhibit!!

To get your free ticket then click on the link below.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/network-with-leamington-hour-christmas-celebration-tickets-17338431716

See you there!!

Stock Photography

Article by Neil Porter 30.09.15

 Everyone has surely heard of it, and it is very often the way by which so many people will add images to their websites and marketing materials. 

It is cheap, there is a huge amount of choice, and it is quick because the images are already available. 

I believe it has its place – if you are looking for an image that would be nigh on impossible to obtain from using a photographer, such as a skyscraper shot if you are in the Norfolk broads or something totally mundane such as a set of keys – then it really is the place to go. 

Even when using stock image sites – please do check very carefully on the licence terms of the image you select and what you will be using the image for – it can be a minefield and still leave you liable to additional licencing costs far higher than paying a photographer.  

All that said – I really believe that using stock photography for all your images is something which really doesn’t reflect your business. It lacks authenticity. Honesty. Integrity. 

You all know those images to which I refer, a team of people with pearly white smiles, a water soaked apple or the best of all – a woman with a headset. 

I would put them in here – but then I would be breaking licencing terms! 

The biggest concern of all is the risk of that image having been used by a competitor, a customer, a supplier. Despite there being so many images available it does seem that the same, or incredibly similar images, appear on so many websites & marketing materials now. 

My aim is to get all small businesses across Warwickshire to understand that hiring a professional to capture your business, your people, the story behind your journey is both affordable and far better to showcase who you are and what you do – it will only help to build trust between you and both your customers and new prospects. 

Be Unique. Be genuine. Be Real. 

Thanks for reading and as always get in touch if I can help you with your photography needs

Neil

07359 964808

NCP Photography

Bringing YOUR business to life

Did you go to the same place for your summer holiday this year

Article by Mandy Sutton 28.09.15

I like to think my family is adventurous but when I look back we have been creatures of habit. I know though when we have tried something new we’ve often liked it and there’s so much more to explore!  I remember howling gales in Fuertaventura but the breathtaking awe I felt the first time I saw the Trossachs. Most people are like that when it comes to computer operating systems. There are some of us grimly sticking to Windows XP although there have been three versions since then. And just last month we have Windows 10! This resistance to change doesn’t seem to affect MAC users in the same way so I’m really talking to the Microsoft fans.

Which OS? The good ones seem to come along alternately .

• Windows Me was not a great success but XP blew us all away.
• I found Vista a pain, W7 a joy.
• W8 has its problems for desktop users so I’m hoping 10 will be the holy grail.

XP is no longer supported (meaning no more security updates) but W7 will go on until 2020.

 

July saw the launch of Windows 10. “Why no 9?” I hear you ask. Well there’s a lot of talk about this and these are a few of the reasons suggested so pick your favourite:

• They started on 9 and decided to start again as it all went wrong
• There will be no more numbers of Windows, just a gradually evolving system so they wanted to end on a round number.
• They are so pleased with it, they think it’s a perfect 10 (those of a certain age will know what the photo is about)
• It’s to keep up with Apple who are on version 10
• The number 9 is considered unlucky in Japan.
• It might get confused with Windows 95 or 98
• They want to get as far as possible away from Windows 8

So Window 10 it is and with it come some EXCITING new things to tempt you.

• Start Menu is back
• Easier to switch between windows and see what you have open
• Multiple desktops so you can have a group of items open together
• Cortana – an “intelligent” digital personal assistant for answering your questions and setting reminders etc
• Voice recognition
• Faster to start up and generally quicker
• Better for games
• It’s free to upgrade from Windows 7 or 8

I’m just about to take the plunge. I’ll go there so you don’t have to – I’ll check out all the beauty spots and the best places to eat alfresco and warn you away from the gremlins.

If you’ve already upgraded, do let me know how you got on.

If you’d like to change after your rest this summer, but you’d like some help moving everything over etc then let me know. You never know – this could be the best “something new” you ever tried!

Mandy
Purple Mouse
Sorting IT out – one step at a time




7 Face-To-Face Networking Tips

Article by Rebecca Mason 23.09.14 

Networking is not just about gaining more business contracts; it’s about sharing knowledge, building relationships, giving and receiving recommendations and giving support to other businesses.  Remember, effective business networking is about linking together businessesthrough trust and relationship building so they all become walking, talking advertisements for one another.

So, how do you get it right?  Here are my 7 tips:

 

1. Know what your goals are in participating in networking groups.  This ensures you will pick the networking groups which will help you get what you are looking for, may it be new customers, or, a new supplier.  Remember, some meetings are based more on learning, making contacts, and/or volunteering rather than on strictly making business connections.
 2. Visit different networking groups and then become a regular of the ones which suit.  Not all networking groups are the same, they vary on formality, cost, types of businesses attending etc.  By trying different networking groups, you can join the ones which suit you and your business, allowing your business to grow in the right direction.  Remember, if you have to become a member of a networking group, many will allow you to visit before joining.  
3. Be the solution.  Before attending a networking meeting, make sure you are clear about what you do and why, for whom, and what makes you different from other businesses.  Make sure you can articulate this easily in a “60 seconds/elevator pitch”, or, briefly in an informal setting.  Ensure you are telling businesses the problems you can solve for them.  
4. Be authentic and build relationships, rather than sell, sell, sell.  Through sharing knowledge, building trust and relationshipswith other businesses you will become known as the person to contact for the service(s) you have on offer.
5. Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations.  This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
6. Have your business cards/flyers to hand.  Also, remember to pick up other businesses cards/flyer as well, so you can follow up on any potential leads.
    7. Follow up.  Always send a personalised email, or, make a phone call within 24-48 hours of attending a networking meeting with a potential customer/supplier.  It provides an opportunity to maintain contact with the business and to arrange a meeting to discuss how you can do business together in the future. Furthermore, follow those businesses you meet at a networking group on the appropriate social media platform 

Remember, networking is a slow process; it takes time to build trust with other businesses. For further advice on networking, or, how to combine this with social media, please feel free to contact me rebecca.troubleshooter@gmail.com07531051264.

 

Written by Rebecca Mason, Owner of RM Troubleshooter.

 

 

 

6 Ways To Grow Your Business With Social Media

Article by Todd 14.09.15


Social media is many things to many people. It can be great for keeping in contact with friends and family, knowing the score for the latest football match, or hearing about favourite celebrity antics. 

But social media can also help you grow your business –and you should be using it if you’re serious about your growth. 

I’ve been using social media for over five years for business and now I spend all day using it to grow other people’s businesses!

 

Here Are My Top Six Ways To Grow Your Business With Social Media

 

1) Build Your Tribe

Let’s start by actually growing something. You may have heard of the phrase ‘social tribe’ before. What this means is that you can have a collection of fans and followers who are not only getting your messages and are aware of what you do, but they care. 

They care enough to help you, stick with you, they care enough to stand up for you when you need them to – and they buy from you when they need to, as well

To build a tribe you must first work on trust and you must also build authority. A blog is a fabulous way to do that. Blogging about what you do and how much you know helps others and they become grateful for the information and interested in you. 

These people can become part of your tribe and will follow you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or wherever you share or send them. 

This is powerful as these people will be indebted to you and your helpful content. Keep on sharing, keep on helping, and your tribe will grow and grow and you’ll have a large number of online fans online who will help you to get where you’re going. 

Offer value – lots of it – and show you care by engaging with your tribe. It takes time, but by jove it’s a powerful tool when you need it! 

 

2) Grow Your List

“You don’t have a business without a list.

 It’s been said a million times but some people still haven’t acted on this

Your list; your email or contact list, IS your business. If you can’t communicate to people then how do you expect them to know what you’re up to, what you have on offer or when you can help with what’s needed? 

Growing an email list with social media works like this:

 

• Have compelling content on your website, like a blog or white paper.
• Share insightful content and tips on social media and push people to your website content.
• When they’re reading your content, offer them something of value for freelike an eBook, CD, download – or anything that you can create once and give away that will help them in exchange for an email list.
• Then rinse and repeat. Get people on your list and then make sure you email them great content and keep them engaged until you need to sell to them or tell them something important.

 

3) Expand Your Awareness 

Brand awareness sounds sexy and like it’s only for the big guys, but it’s not – and you need it. As a small business in Leamington, or indeed any town, you need to be known. You must build awareness so that people can buy from you when the time is right. 

I recently bought a new mattress from Dreams. This is the second time in my life that I have bought a mattress and the second time I have bought from Dreams. I’m aware of them because they have many stores, many adverts and of course huge balloons flying at many of their flagship stores. 

You don’t have a balloon budget? No problem – social media is free (to a point). Getting your business and brand on social media gets it into a position to be seen, be heard, and more importantly engage in local, national and international conversation. 

The percentage of buyers whose purchases were influenced by social media is growing and at last count was 78%!  

Be seen, be heard, be remembered – be social!

 

4Grow Your Team

Social media can actually grow your business team as well as your sales and list. 

We have around ten associates working for Spaghetti Agency who we met online. In fact, looking at iteveryone in Spaghetti Agency met online!

I met Jo on Twitter. Jo met Matt our designer on Twitter. We got Craig the IT chap on board after meeting him on Twitter. We met and hired Laura, our content and social media manager, through Twitter and Facebook, and our new social media assistant we got to know through Twitter, Facebook and email marketing. Our marketing strategist came via social media and came on our digital marketing workshop. Our business development team came through Twitter and LinkedIn and we found our SEO guy through Google thanks to strong social shares (tenuous but still through social).

Social media opens doors. It opens doors that you wouldn’t have opened and ones you might not have even knew existed. 

If opportunity doesn’t knock today it might well tweet tomorrow. 

 

5) Drive Your Conversations

Social media is all about conversation and if you’re selling instead of listening and responding then you’re missing the point… massively. 

Hashtag hours like #LeamingtonHour are a great example of what social media is about and what it’s not about. Some businesses head there to chat and have conversations with other businesses. Some head there to spam anyone and everyone with links. #BuyMyStuff!

One of these approaches works well to build relationships and drive conversation. One of them falls of deaf ears. I’ll leave you to work out which is which. 

Talk, and most importantly, listen, to other people and businesses to get your brand or business in the right conversations. Everything starts from a little conversation and you’ll be amazed what you’ll talk about after sharing the most simple things on social media. 

 

6Your Website Needs To Be Social To Grow

You spent time, money and effort on that website of yours and now it sits online, quietly waiting, wishing for people to come and visit. 

You might already know that social media sends traffic to your business website but how does that help and how does it make your business grow?

Social signals (traffic and conversations about your website from social media) affect your ranking on search engines like Google. Google in particular are very keen to see activity on a website. Think about it: you Google a service and land on a site and it has everything you need… only to find out that the business is no longer around… it’s just that the website still has years left on its hosting. 

Google doesn’t want this, and neither do you. So Google looks for signs of life and social media is a perfect signal that your business is alive and well.

The more of this that happens, the more likely it is that people will find you in the search results. It’ll take time,and of course you need a great blog there too to keep people coming back. You’ll need to think about WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) from your readers’ perspective. You also need a really clean, simple layout that your visitors can use to find everything they need. 

But over time all this means one thing – more signals. Google will see this activity and it will take an interest in it. If people find it so useful then so will others and that means Google will want to share it more.

This then gets you higher up, with more chance of clicks.  If you have a good social media sharing and connecting strategy on your website then it all helps to fuel the follows and shares even more. 

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and it’s all helped hugely by social media

 

Social Media Is Growing Business – It Is Growing Yours?

 

Fact is: your competition are on social media. Whether they’re any good or not is not in your control. What is, is how good you are at it, how often you appear, how much value you give and what you do to follow up. 

What you say, how you act, and the connections you make on social media, are powerful and they’re driving the growth of businesses like yours every minute of every day. 

In Leamington there are some fantastic business and events totally driven by social media. Tweetups, awards, meetings, ventures and hashtags are developing – and you simply can’t ignore the potential in them. 

Even this website, Grow Leamington, has happened because of social media. Gary spent time on social media and spotted a gap for this in the conversations and the businesses. Social media is opening doors and all you have to do is turn up and offer something useful. 

 

It’s your choice if you grow it or not.


My name is Todd and I’m a social media manager and content creator at Spaghetti Agency. 

Our business helps people grow their business with social media and online marketing. Tweet me at @SocialMediaTodd  


 I’d be happy to help.